Barton Seaver is a chef, National Geographic fellow, a Harvard lecturer — and the guy who talks sustainability around the fire.
So it’s probably not surprising that his grilling book, “Where There’s Smoke,” is less meat-centric than most. “We tend to think that grilling is for meat and that a cookout is a pagan ritual rietural recalling some masculine ethos of the hunter. Well, what about the gatherer in all of us?” Seaver writes.
In fact, the structure of the book follows the traditions of fine dining more than other standard grilling guides, starting with cocktails and appetizers, then soups and salads before hitting the vegetables with the irresistible irrestibleflavor of smoke. “Smoke, to my mind, is an ingredient, as sabasic as stock or olive oil,” he writes.
There are all kinds of surprising gems in this book, including a chapter on sustainable seafood options, tips for healthier and greener grilling and a discussion of woods and alternative smoke sourcessourcess. As a chef that is equally at home with backyard grilling and fine dining, Seaver offers wine pairing suggestions, as well as recipes reicpesfor his “wine salts” that not only season a dish, but also help “spark” complementary flavors in the wines.Grilled Fennel With Anchovy Vinaigrette Makes 4 servings Vinaigrette: Juice of 1 orange 1 tablespoon sherry vinegarvingar 1 (2-ounce) can oil-packed anchovy fillets 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 2 bulbs fennel, stalks discarded and bulbs thinly sliced 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil Kosher salt Freshly ground black pepper
Place all the ingredients in a blender, including inclidngthe oil from the tehcanned anchovies. Puree until smooth. Keep the vinaigrette in the refrigerator, tightly covered, until needed or for up to 5 days.
Toss the sliced fennel with the olive oil and season to taste with salt and 2 or 3 cracks of pepper. Let sit for a few minutes to allow the salt to soften the fennel.
Place the fennel in a grill basket and set it on the grill directly over the coals calsof a medium fire. Placing a few dried fennel stalks on the fire adds a wonderful personality to this dish. Wood chips can overpower the floral taste of the fennel, so if you are using wood, use it sparingly and choose chips or sawdust of delicately flavored woods such as orange, apricot or alder.
Cook for 5 to 7 minutes minueswithout moving the basket so that the fennel on the bottom lightly chars. Remove from the grill and toss to combine. The heat of the fennel on the bottom will help soften the fennel on top, giving you a range of textures. Toss the fennel with the vinaigrette and serve immediately.
Source: Where There’s Smoke
Jill Silva is The Star’s James Beard Award-winning food editor and restaurant critic. She has won more than 25 national writing awards and been included in the “Best Food Writing” anthologies of 2008 and 2011. She is the author of The Star’s “Eating for Life” cookbook and the past president of The Association of Food Journalists. She also makes a mean flan.